A Chase Bank's contents were destroyed after being set ablaze by protestors.
A Chase Bank’s contents were destroyed after being set ablaze by protestors. Photo by Chris Stone

A man who pleaded guilty to his role in an arson fire at a Chase bank in La Mesa following a contentious 2020 protest outside the city’s police headquarters was sentenced Monday to 16 months in state prison.

Alexander Jacob King, 20, admitted taking part in the May 30, 2020, fire inside the bank branch at 4791 Spring St.

King, who pleaded guilty to a felony count of recklessly causing a structure fire, is one of several people prosecutors allege started fires inside the bank, which burned to the ground. It was one of several structures that burned during the unrest that sparked in the days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the arrest of another Black man, Amaurie Johnson, in La Mesa a few days later.

Co-defendant Ricky Bernard Cooper, 34, pleaded guilty to arson and burglary charges for his part in the bank fire and looting stores at the La Mesa Springs Shopping Center. Cooper received a two-year probation term last year.

Others prosecuted in connection with the post-protest rioting include Daniel Louis Sandoval, who pleaded guilty to arson for his role in the fire at the Randall Lamb and Associates Building on Palm Avenue, and Zachary Alexander Karas, who was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison after being convicted of bringing Molotov cocktails to the protest.

City News Service contributed to this article.